The son of a Metropolitan Opera orchestra violinist, John Drebinger was a former boyhood pianist and Staten Island high school track sprinter. After a 12-year stint with the Staten Island Advance, Drebinger joined The New York Times. For the next 41 years, Drebby (as his colleagues called him) lived the "hobo" life of a baseball writer, covering the Giants, Dodgers, and Yankees.
A newspaperman's newspaperman, Drebinger estimated that he traveled about 1,230,000 miles in 49 years as a sportswriter. He saw nearly 6,000 major league games and, from 1929 through 1963, wrote the lead story for The Times on 203 consecutive World Series games.
Drebinger brought to the typewriter his wit, insight, reportorial thoroughness and durability. He was best remembered by his colleagues for his quips and cast-iron constitution. Fellow baseball reporter Til Ferdenzi stated that Drebinger "wrote the purest and most intelligent baseball stories in the country."